*Samantha updated here.*
Across town. Another girl. Teacher. Wife. Daughter. Friend.
Amazing photographer. (you can click on her link, it’s okay, I know she’s better than me, I can handle it, but make sure you come back, k?)
I’ve seen her work many times, admittedly I’m pretty intimidated by it. She’s extremely gifted not just with her camera but also with her words. The two create beautiful art that make me envious but in a way that it makes me want to reach for my goal of being a photographer even faster. (not in a way that I would have had her clubbed in the knee before a photo session, but in a way that says “yep, this the road you are supposed to travel, Beth.)
My friends are friends with her and I had never met her…
Last April, this girl, teacher, wife, daughter, friend and amazing photographer found out she had Hodgkins lymphoma. Since then she’s endured twelve rounds of chemotherapy and has continued to photograph and continues living with grace and strength.
She wrote a post last week about a session she did with Lovelyn. Part of the post said “These photos give me something to smile about. These photos give me hope. These photos give me something that defies cancer, that defies the crappy parts of life. These days I am clinging so tightly to anything that brings that into my life. In these photos, there are so many of those things…”
And then she shared a series of photos from the session, including this one:
When she wrote about finding hope within photos I knew I needed to contact her. I was so scared because what was she going to think? But I had to put my fear and reservations aside because something bigger than me was pushing me, gently, towards her and I could not ignore the nudging any longer. (by the way, this nudging had been going on for a long, long time.)
If she responded to me negatively (which I doubted she would) or if she didn’t respond to me at all, I knew I did what I was supposed to do…I reached out to her.
As I rocked Eli to sleep, I composed an email in my head, I laid him down, sat down at my computer and I wrote. The words flowed from my fingertips onto the screen, who I was, how I knew who she was, why I was contacting her and also trying to let her know that I’m not a stalker-freak.
I knew I had to photograph her in this season of her life. In the post, she wrote about finding out on December 8th if the chemo had worked, so in the email I asked if I could photograph her before the 8th.
My words to her:
“I want to capture the spirit of what you are going through, which is so difficult and painful but also, to us? It’s inspiring and beautiful and your strength and willingness to share is making us live better. And I want to show you what I’m talking about. And maybe you won’t see it right away but in five years, when this cancer beast is HISTORY. You will. And you’ll show your children and your grandchildren and they’ll also know what a fighter you were.”
I hit send without a second thought.
Not too long after, she replied. She knew who I was and yes, she would love it if I photographed her. She wrote with such a grateful heart. She had ideas and we set a time and place and then we met on Sunday afternoon. I was nursing Eli before leaving and I said to Brian “what did I get myself into, how could I think I could ever photograph her?”
Friends, I was so nervous.
But our session began and it flowed and it worked. And it happened, I captured her beauty.
and her mind blowing strength
and most definitely, her perseverance
In my facing my fears, forgetting my photographic inadequacies and listening to that voice telling me to “go, go, go and connect with Samantha,” I captured something so much bigger than I ever imagined possible.
On this couch, in a field, in the snow, in Indiana…I captured one of the strongest people I have ever met and I need to share her with you.
Because we could all use the inspiration and Samantha, well, she could definitely use your prayers.
Tomorrow…is December 8th.